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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

In a day’s time I drink an obscene amount of coffee. In fact, about half of the world’s population of adults drinks some form of coffee or tea on a daily basis. I love coffee so much that a local vendor regularly delivers fresh-roasted beans to my front door. But as I approached the milestone of turning forty, I noticed that my usually bright smile, once worthy of toothpaste commercials, was starting to look dim and faded. A trip to the dentist confirmed my fear – coffee stains were causing dental issues and I had to start looking at teeth whitening procedures.

Some mistakenly think that it is caffeine in coffee that stains teeth, but in reality, it is the tannic acid. Tannic acid gives coffee it the rich, dark color that makes it a great stain for natural fibers, like fabric or paper. However, coffee also gives our teeth that same dingy, antique look. I knew I had to take action but had reservations about harsh chemicals found in over-the-counter, teeth whitening kits.

When I was young, my grandparents drank coffee all day long and had brilliant smiles – and this was well before the popularity of cosmetic dental treatments. I began to do some research and experimenting with various types of natural ways to combat the coffee stains on my teeth. Here are some of my findings. Can you believe that most were already in my spice cabinet?

  1. Combat Coffee Stains with Items from Your Spice Rack
  2. Spices to Help Combat Coffee Stains
  3. Cooking Ingredients That Naturally Whiten Teeth
  4. Spicy Secrets to a Whiter Smile

Baking soda is abrasive, and a popular ingredient of commercial toothpastes and teeth whitening products. Its natural properties help kill bacteria in around teeth and gums which also helps reduce plaque.

Sea salt by itself is too abrasive for the tooth’s enamel. However, when mixed with warm water the sea salt acts as a natural rinsing agent that helps gently rub away lingering stains. It gets between teeth and helps remove odd bits of food stuck in the narrow spaces. The warm saltwater also draws out fluids that cause swollen gums and other abscessed areas.

Basil leaves not only taste good in my grandma’s spaghetti recipe, but they also help keep my teeth white. Try grinding dry basil leaves, the grated interior of an orange peel, and a few drops of lemon juice. Add just enough water to make a paste and use it to brush your teeth. The ingredients work together to brighten dingy teeth.

Sage leaves brewed in boiling water make a kind of tea that, when used to gargle, will rinse away stains on the enamel of teeth. Sage tea contains tannins, which help boost the body’s resistance to infections – including ones like oral abscesses. Its natural antiseptic properties help brighten your smile by preventing the harmful infections that cause stains on tooth enamel.

Turmeric powder is more commonly associated as an ingredient for curry dishes. However, mixed with lime juice it can remove stains from tooth enamel and restore a dazzling smile to one’s facial features. Despite its reputation for dying clothes yellow, chewing on raw turmeric roots has the same effect as chewing sugar-free gum. It gently eases stains from the surface of teeth and helps produce bacteria-fighting saliva.

Cider vinegar, when mixed with baking soda and salt, creates a foaming, bubbly mix. Brush your teeth with this and the foaming action will fizzle against the outside of the teeth and eat at the stains. As with any natural teeth whitening treatments that deal with acidic substances, be sure and rinse your mouth afterwards. Using acids for too long a period of time or too frequently can actually have an adverse effect on tooth enamel.

Like the French military leader napoleon Bonaparte, I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless. Part of that suffering is the coffee stains on my teeth. Thanks to remedies handed down through my family from one generation to the next, I look no further than the ingredients of my spice cabinet for herbal teeth whitening products.

There are other things you can do to combat tannic acid stains from as well.  Rinse it away by swishing your mouth out with plain water every time you finish a cup of coffee. Drink through a straw, which keeps the liquid off the teeth in the front of your mouth. No stains are good but at least the ones in the back of your mouth affect your smile less. Finally, try chewing sugar-free gum after drinking a cup of coffee to help produce saliva, which has natural enzymes that fight bacteria that could harm teeth and cause stains.

About the Author

Stay at home mother of three, Tracy Martin enjoys researching online for ways to keep her family healthy. Her latest project is on the importance of healthy teeth. With the help of a reputable dentist, Vancouver BC’s own Dr. Diane Bird, she educates on kid’s dentistry and natural teeth whitening. Tracy’s other interests include digital artwork, reading, and traveling with her family.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want bright smiles naturally.

Image courtesy of torbakhopper via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.